Start with a bucket of popcorn and movie at the theater, then top it off with a fresh craft beer made with locally grown hops by visiting the pub next door.
That combination could be reality for visitors at the Salmon Run Mall next summer as three young entrepreneurs from Sackets Harbor plan to skew traditional business plans by launching a craft brew pub at a vacant space neighboring the entrance to the Regal Cinemas.
To be called Skewed Brewing Co., the 2,250-square-foot pub and eatery is a result of more than a year of planning by Ryan N. and Cheryl C. Chaif, owners of the Hops Spot restaurant in Sackets Harbor, and Mark P. Crandall. The three partners made their case Tuesday for a $50,000 loan to the Jefferson County Industrial Development Agency’s loan review committee, which approved the funding after reviewing the plan. The agency’s board of directors will consider granting final approval Feb. 7, and the North Country Alliance also will consider approving a $50,000 loan in February. The $840,000 project is contingent on securing a $500,000 loan from Watertown Savings Bank.
Mr. Chaif sees Skewed Brewing as a hot spot for visitors at the mall. He said capturing sales from military families at Fort Drum would be a plus.
“There’s a huge transient population at Fort Drum who is used to sampling craft beers, but then they come here and it’s the same yellow fizz that comes out of the tap,” he said. “They want to try new beers.”
The Chaifs, who successfully launched the Hops Spot in 2011, plan to branch out into the craft brewery industry at the much larger second business in the town of Watertown. While the Sackets Harbor eatery seats about 20 people, the planned craft pub will have room for 90 diners, including an expansive bar and an outdoor patio where alcohol will be served. The menu will include a range of appetizers and sandwiches with organic, locally grown ingredients. A brick oven will be used to bake open-faced sandwiches at the pub, which will have 40 employees the first year — 10 full-time and 30 part-time.
Hops purchased from four local farmers will be fermented at the pub, which will include 10 stainless steel fermenting barrels with a capacity of 31 gallons each. About 620 gallons of craft beer will be produced each week, totaling anywhere from 500 to 750 barrels a year.
A dozen international craft brews will be featured at the pub, along with three homemade brews. Mr. Chaif said the pub will be viewed as a pilot project that will lead to the launch of a full-scale brewery in Jefferson County in the next two years. That timetable should allow the company to develop more brews and form additional partnerships with area farmers who grow hops.
“We’ll be able to interact with customers on a one-to-one basis and get their feedback, as well as build a brand name with people who come through the mall,” he said. “The recipes for our beers are going to be directly shaped by what our customers think is palatable.”
Mr. Chaif said the pub will feature a frosted-glass storefront with a large pixilated print depicting a skewed curve. Dark red and gray colors will lend it a “modern industrial” look that mimics pubs from the Prohibition era. The pub was named for a mathematical term. In geometry, two nonparallel lines in space that don’t intersect are called “skewed lines.”
“We’re doing things outside the norm here,” he said.